I propose to take Questions Nos. 206 and 207 together.
The Energy Efficiency Fund (the Fund) will be established with the aim of providing finance to energy efficiency initiatives in the public and private sectors. The aim is to attract matching funding from the private sector, such that the overall amount available for investment is greater than €70 million.
The Fund will be managed by an independent third party, not by a Government agency. Government will be represented in its capacity as an investor in the Fund, on the same basis as other investors in the Fund.
NewEra has been asked by Government to coordinate Government activities in ensuring that the Fund is established and appropriately managed, and has been meeting with sector participants and parties with experience in making and managing investments in the energy efficiency sector.
While renewable energy can play a part in energy efficiency projects it is not envisaged that projects that are solely renewable energy based (without seeking, at the same time, to reduce energy consumption) will be financed by the Fund.
The Fund will be supported by the creation of a National Energy Performance Contracting Policy Framework, which will standardise energy performance contracting in Ireland and provide a robust process for establishing the investment-ready projects. Work on the Framework is well advanced with a public/private group established late last year.
I intend to launch the details of the Fund alongside the second National Energy Efficiency Action Plan tomorrow. As part of the launch I will also issue a call for exemplar projects to test the Framework.